About this topic
Summary Deflationism about truth is not one view of truth but a family of accounts that rejects truth as a substantial property (whether of sentences, propositions, or entities of other sorts). In a typical minimalist formulation, to say that 'S' is true is equivalent to asserting S. Minimalism is attractive for its simplicity and lack of deep metaphysical commitments. Critics argue that it is too simple to answer fundamental questions about truth, for example: why is truth valued over falsehood? Minimalism may also be threatened by semantic paradoxes because it seems to require unqualified commitment to the equivalence principle "'S' is true iff S". 
Key works Deflationism about truth has its origin in Frege 1956, Ramsey 1927, and Ayer 1935. Contemporary expressions of deflationary truth include disquotationalism: Field 1994, Mcgee 1993, Quine 1970; minimalism: Horwich 1998 Horwich 1999 Horwich 1998 Horwich 2009 Horwich 2001 Horwich 2004; prosententialism: Grover et al 1975, Grover 1992, Brandom 1994, Brandom 2002
Introductions Armour-Garb 2012 and Armour-Garb 2012 present not only a general account of deflationism about truth but also the primary challenges such a theory faces from its critics. Armour-Garb & Beall 2005 is an anthology dedicated to presenting a variety of accounts ofdeflationism about truth, and Lynch et al 2021 also includes a number of important classic and contemporary contributions to the field. For a helpful overview of deflationary accounts of truth, see Armour-Garb et al 2021
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  1. Assertion: A (Partly) Social Speech Act.Neri Marsili & Mitchell Green - 2021 - Journal of Pragmatics 181 (August 2021):17-28.
    In a series of articles (Pagin, 2004, 2009), Peter Pagin has argued that assertion is not a social speech act, introducing a method (which we baptize ‘the P-test’) designed to refute any account that defines assertion in terms of its social effects. This paper contends that Pagin's method fails to rebut the thesis that assertion is social. We show that the P-test is both unreliable (because it overgenerates counterexamples) and counterproductive (because it ultimately provides evidence in favor of some social (...)
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  2. Representation, Deflationism, and the Question of Realism.Camil Golub - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    How can we distinguish between quasi-realist expressivism and normative realism? The most promising answer to this question is the “explanation” explanation proposed by Dreier (2004), Simpson (2018), and others: the two views might agree in their claims about truth and objectivity, or even in their attributions of semantic content to normative sentences, but they disagree about how to explain normative meaning. Realists explain meaning by invoking normative facts and properties, or representational relations between normative language and the world, the thought (...)
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  3. The Failure Argement.Richard Kimberly Heck - manuscript
    Perhaps the most important argument against deflationism is the so-called Success Argument: The success of certain behavioral strategies depends upon the truth of a person's beliefs. If so, then the notion of truth appears to play an important role in psychological explanation, contradicting the central thesis of deflationism. I argue here that this type of argument poses a particularly difficult problem for disquotationalism, but that the important case concerns the role that the falsity of a person's beliefs plays in explaining (...)
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  4. Creeping Minimalism and Subject Matter.Matthew Simpson - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (6):750-766.
    The problem of creeping minimalism concerns how to tell the difference between metaethical expressivism and its rivals given contemporary expressivists’ acceptance of minimalism about truth and related concepts. Explanationism finds the difference in what expressivists use to explain why ethical language and thought has the content it does. I argue that two recent versions of explanationism are unsatisfactory and offer a third version, subject matter explanationism. This view, I argue, captures the advantages of previous views without their disadvantages and gives (...)
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  5. An Intensional Theory of Truth: An Informal Report.Roy T. Cook - 2020 - Philosophical Forum 51 (2):115-126.
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  6. Relaxing About Moral Truths.Christine Tiefensee - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6 (31):869-890.
    As with all other moral realists, so-called relaxed moral realists believe that there are moral truths. Unlike metaphysical moral realists, they do not take themselves to be defending a substantively metaphysical position when espousing this view, but to be putting forward a moral thesis from within moral discourse. In this paper, I employ minimalism about truth to examine whether or not there is a semantic analysis of the claim ‘There are moral truths’ which can support this moral interpretation of one (...)
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  7. Deflating Deflationary Truthmaking.Jamin Asay & Sam Baron - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):1-21.
    In this paper we confront a challenge to truthmaker theory that is analogous to the objections raised by deflationists against substantive theories of truth. Several critics of truthmaker theory espouse a ‘deflationary’ attitude about truthmaking, though it has not been clearly presented as such. Our goal is to articulate and then object to the underlying rationale behind deflationary truthmaking. We begin by developing the analogy between deflationary truth and deflationary truthmaking, and then show how the latter can be found in (...)
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  8. Expressivism, Minimalism and Moral Doctrines.Christine Tiefensee - 2010 - Dissertation, University of Cambridge
    Quasi-realist expressivists have developed a growing liking for minimalism about truth. It has gone almost unnoticed, though, that minimalism also drives an anti-Archimedean movement which launches a direct attack on expressivists’ non-moral self-image by proclaiming that all metaethical positions are built on moral grounds. This interplay between expressivism, minimalism and anti-Archimedeanism makes for an intriguing metaethical encounter. As such, the first part of this dissertation examines expressivism’s marriage to minimalism and defends it against its critics. The second part then turns (...)
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  9. Metasemantics, Moral Realism and Moral Doctrines.Christine Tiefensee - forthcoming - In Visa A. J. Kurki & Mark Mcbride (eds.), Without Trimmings: The Legal, Moral, and Political Philosophy of Matthew Kramer. Oxford, Vereinigtes Königreich:
    In this paper, I consider the relationship between Matthew Kramer’s moral realism as a moral doctrine and expressivism, understood as a distinctly non-representationalist metasemantic theory of moral vocabulary. More precisely, I will argue that Kramer is right in stating that moral realism as a moral doctrine does not stand in conflict with expressivism. But I will also go further, by submitting that advocates of moral realism as a moral doctrine must adopt theories such as expressivism in some shape or form. (...)
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  10. Deflationism and Truthmaking.Matthew Simpson - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):3157-3181.
    This paper is about the relationship between truthmaking—one of the pillars of contemporary metaphysics—and deflationism about truth—one of the main contenders in the debate about truth, and a key component of the broad anti-metaphysical philosophical approach known as pragmatism. Many philosophers have argued that deflationism and truthmaking are incompatible or in conflict in some interesting way. Some take this to count against deflationism, others to count against truthmaking. In this paper I argue that deflationism and truthmaking are compatible in most (...)
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  11. Saving Which Differences? Creeping Minimalism and Disagreement.Christine Tiefensee - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1905-1921.
    Much thought has been devoted to how metaethical disagreement between moral realism and expressivism can be saved once minimalism starts creeping. Very little thought has been given to how creeping minimalism affects error-theories’ disagreement with their metaethical competitors. The reason for this omission, I suspect, is found in the belief that whilst locating distinctive moral realist and expressivist positions within a minimalist landscape poses a severe challenge, no such difficulties are encountered when differentiating error-theories from moral realism and expressivism. In (...)
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  12. A Nominalistic Interpretation of Truth.Theodore de Laguna & Joel Katzav - 2019 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 27 (5):1034-1040.
    This paper by Theodore de Laguna presents and argues for the deflationary theory of truth. The paper was first published in French in 1922. The version published here is the original, English version of the paper and has been edited by Joel Katzav.
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  13. Error-Theory, Relaxation and Inferentialism.Christine Tiefensee - 2018 - In Diego E. Machuca (ed.), Moral Skepticism. Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 49-70.
    This contribution considers whether or not it is possible to devise a coherent form of external skepticism about the normative if we ‘relax’ about normative ontology by regarding claims about the existence of normative truths and properties themselves as normative. I answer this question in the positive: A coherent form of non-normative error-theories can be developed even against a relaxed background. However, this form no longer makes any reference to the alleged falsity of normative judgments, nor the non-existence of normative (...)
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  14. Theories of Truth for Countable Languages Which Conform to Classical Logic.Seppo Heikkilä - forthcoming - Nonlinear Studies.
    Every countable language which conforms to classical logic is shown to have an extension which has a consistent definitional theory of truth. That extension has a consistent semantical theory of truth, if every sentence of the object language is valuated by its meaning either as true or as false. These theories contain both a truth predicate and a non-truth predicate. Theories are equivalent when sentences of the object lqanguage are valuated by their meanings.
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  15. Disquotation and Infinite Conjunctions.Thomas Schindler & Lavinia Picollo - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (5):899-928.
    One of the main logical functions of the truth predicate is to enable us to express so-called ‘infinite conjunctions’. Several authors claim that the truth predicate can serve this function only if it is fully disquotational, which leads to triviality in classical logic. As a consequence, many have concluded that classical logic should be rejected. The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, we consider two accounts available in the literature of what it means to express infinite conjunctions with a (...)
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  16. Putnam’s Conception of Truth.Massimo Dell'Utri - 2016 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 12 (2):5-22.
    After stressing how the attempt to provide a plausible account of the connection between language and the world was one of Putnam’s constant preoccupations, this article describes the four stages his thinking about the concepts of truth and reality went through. Particular attention is paid to the kinds of problems that made him abandon each stage to enter the next. The analysis highlights how all the stages but one express a general non-epistemic stance towards truth and reality—the right stance, according (...)
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  17. Institutionism, Pluralism, and Cognitive Command.Stewart Shapiro & William W. Taschek - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (2):74.
  18. Solving the Problem of Creeping Minimalism.Matthew Simpson - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):510-531.
    In this paper I discuss the so-called problem of creeping minimalism, the problem of distinguishing metaethical expressivism from its rivals once expressivists start accepting minimalist theories about truth, representation, belief, and similar concepts. I argue that Dreier’s ‘explanation’ explanation is almost correct, but by critically examining it we not only get a better solution, but also draw out some interesting results about expressivism and non-representationalist theories of meaning more generally.
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  19. Truth and the World: An Explanationist Theory.Jonathan Tallant - 2017 - London: Routledge.
    How do we explain the truth of true propositions? Truthmaker theory is the branch of metaphysics that explores the relationships between what is true and what exists. It plays an important role in contemporary debates about the nature of metaphysics and metaphysical enquiry. -/- In this book Jonathan Tallant argues, controversially, that we should reject truthmaker theory. In its place he argues for an 'explanationist' approach. Drawing on a deflationary theory of truth he shows that it allows us to explain (...)
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  20. The Dilemma Imposed on the Realist by Putnam's and Kripkensteinian Argument.Henrik Sova - 2017 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 10 (1):62-82.
    In this article, I have two aims. Firstly, I argue that Hilary Putnam's model theoretic indeterminacy argument against external realism and Saul Kripke's so-called Kripkensteinian argument against semantic realism have the same dialectical structure and the same conclusion---both force the opponent to face the same dilemma. Namely: either adopt meaning minimalism or postulate unobservable semantic facts. Secondly, I analyze more closely the first horn of the dilemma---meaning minimalism. This is the position according to which there are no truth conditions for (...)
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  21. Gestalt Shifts in the Liar Or Why KT4M Is the Logic of Semantic Modalities.Susanne Bobzien - 2017 - In Bradley Armour-Garb (ed.), Reflections on the Liar. Oxford University. pp. 71-113.
    ABSTRACT: This chapter offers a revenge-free solution to the liar paradox (at the centre of which is the notion of Gestalt shift) and presents a formal representation of truth in, or for, a natural language like English, which proposes to show both why -- and how -- truth is coherent and how it appears to be incoherent, while preserving classical logic and most principles that some philosophers have taken to be central to the concept of truth and our use of (...)
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  22. A Proposal for a Non-Realist Theory of Truth.María Ponte Azcárate - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 6:105-109.
    My aim in this article is to analyze and to discuss what I think are the two most important approaches to a theory of truth from a non-realist standpoint: the proposal of Crispin Wright and the proposal enounced by Putnam in Reason, Truth and History. Wright argues for a minimalist theory of truth according to which truth has to be a metaphysically neutral notion and admits several possible models. One of these possible models is Putnam's notion of "rational acceptability under (...)
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  23. Inferentialist Metaethics, Bifurcations and Ontological Commitment.Christine Tiefensee - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2437-2459.
    According to recent suggestions within the global pragmatism discussion, metaethical debate must be fundamentally re-framed. Instead of carving out metaethical differences in representational terms, it has been argued that metaethics should be given an inferentialist footing. In this paper, I put inferentialist metaethics to the test by subjecting it to the following two criteria for success: Inferentialist metaethicists must be able to save the metaethical differences between moral realism and expressivism, and do so in a way that employs understandings of (...)
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  24. Truth Incorporated.Gurpreet Rattan - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):227-258.
    What is the cognitive value of the concept of truth? What epistemic difference does the concept of truth make to those who grasp it? This paper employs a new perspective for thinking about the concept of truth and recent debates concerning it, organized around the question of the cognitive value of the concept of truth. The paper aims to defend a substantively correct and dialectically optimal account of the cognitive value of the concept of truth. This perspective is employed in (...)
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  25. MacBride on Truth in Truthmaking.Matthew Simpson - 2016 - Analysis 76 (1):19-26.
    Fraser MacBride has argued that deflationism about truth makes the truthmaker principle, that every truth has a truthmaker, implausible. This is because on a deflationary view, the truthmaker principle is a mere abbreviation of a conjunction of claims which have no independent motivation. In this article, I argue that this claim is false: deflationism does not entail that the truthmaker principle is a mere abbreviation of such a conjunction, because the claims MacBride focuses on are in fact irrelevant to the (...)
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  26. The Conservativeness of Mathematics.J. Melia - 2006 - Analysis 66 (3):202-208.
  27. A. Reply To Anil Gupta And Jose Martinez-Fernandez.Hartry Field - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 124 (1):105-128.
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  28. Field on the Concept of Truth – Comment.Anil Gupta & José Martínez-Fernández - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 124 (1):45-58.
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  29. On Field’s Truth and The Absence of Fact – Comment.B. Loewer - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 124 (1):59-70.
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  30. Does Moral Discourse Require Robust Truth?Fritz J. McDonald - 2009 - Logos Architekton 3.
    It has been argued by several philosophers that a deflationary conception of truth, unlike more robust conceptions of truth, cannot properly account for the nature of moral discourse. This is due to what I will call the “quick route problem”: There is a quick route from any deflationary theory of truth and certain obvious features of moral practice to the attribution of truth to moral utterances. The standard responses to the quick route problem are either to urge accepting a conception (...)
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  31. Expressivism, Anti-Archimedeanism and Supervenience.Christine Tiefensee - 2014 - Res Publica 20 (2):163-181.
    Metaethics is traditionally understood as a non-moral discipline that examines moral judgements from a standpoint outside of ethics. This orthodox understanding has recently come under pressure from anti-Archimedeans, such as Ronald Dworkin and Matthew Kramer, who proclaim that rather than assessing morality from an external perspective, metaethical theses are themselves substantive moral claims. In this paper, I scrutinise this anti-Archimedean challenge as applied to the metaethical position of expressivism. More precisely, I examine the claim that expressivists do not avoid moral (...)
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  32. Is Truth a Genuine Property?Massimiliano Vignolo - 2006 - In Paolo Valore (ed.), Topics on General and Formal Ontology. Polimetrica International Scientific Publisher. pp. 267.
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  33. Truthmaker Explanations.Barry Smith & Jonathan Simon - 2007 - In Jean-Maurice Monnoyer (ed.), Metaphysics and Truthmakers. Ontos Verlag. pp. 79-98.
    This paper is a fresh attempt to articulate the role of a theory of truthmakers. We argue that truthmaker theory constitutes a cornerstone of good methodology in metaphysics, but that a conflation of truthmaker theory with the theory of truth has been responsible for certain excesses associated with truthmaker-based approaches in the recent literature. If truthmaker theory is not a component of a theory of truth, then truthmaker maximalism – the view that every truth has a truthmaker – loses its (...)
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  34. Empirical Considerations Against Alethic Deflationism.Timothy J. Nulty - 2008 - Facta Philosophica 10 (1):105-123.
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  35. Linguistic and Visual Cognition: Verifying Proportional and Superlative Most in Bulgarian and Polish. [REVIEW]Barbara Tomaszewicz - 2013 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 22 (3):335-356.
    The verification of a sentence against a visual display in experimental conditions reveals a procedure that is driven solely by the properties of the linguistic input and not by the properties of the context (the set-up of the visual display) or extra-linguistic cognition (operations executed to obtain the truth value). This procedure, according to the Interface Transparency Thesis (ITT) (Lidz et al. in Nat Lang Semant 19(3):227–256, 2011), represents the meaning of an expression at the interface with the ‘conceptual-intentional’ system (...)
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  36. For Keeping Truth in Truthmaking.Fraser MacBride - 2013 - Analysis 73 (4):686-695.
    Is the truthmaker principle a development of the correspondence theory of truth? So Armstrong introduced the truthmaker principle to us, but Lewis (2001. Forget about the ‘correspondence theory of truth’. Analysis 61: 275–80.) influentially argued that it is neither a correspondence theory nor a theory of truth. But the truthmaker principle can be correctly understood as a development of the correspondence theory if it’s conceived as incorporating the insight that truth is a relation between truth-bearers and something worldly. And we (...)
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  37. Wahrheit, Begründbarkeit und Fallibilität. Ein Beitrag zur Diskus-sion epistemischer Wahrheitskonzeptionen.Boris Rähme - 2010 - Ontos Verlag.
    The following two theses constitute the theoretical core of all epistemic conceptions of truth: (1) The concept of truth can be explicated in epistemic terms (e.g. in terms of justified assertability under ideal epistemic conditions, ideal coherence, ideal consensus etc.). (2) The assumption that there could be truths which cannot, in principle, be known to be true is false or even absurd. The book scrutinizes theses (1) and (2). It contains discussions of the truth-theoretical approaches of Peirce, Putnam, Dummett, C. (...)
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  38. Insensitive Enough Semantics.Richard Vallée - 2006 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 10 (1):67-79.
    According to some philosophers, sentences like (1) “It is raining” and (2) “John is ready” are context sensitive sentences even if they do not contain indexicals or demonstratives. That view initiated a context sensitivity frenzy. Cappelen and Lepore (2005) summarize the frenzy by the slogan “Every sentence is context sensitive” (Insensitive Semantics, p. 6, note 5). They suggest a view they call Minimalism according to which the truth conditions of utterances of sentences like (1)/(2) are exactly what Convention T gives (...)
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  39. Deflationism Trumps Pluralism!Julian Dodd - 2013 - In Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen & Cory D. Wright (eds.), Truth and Pluralism: Current Debates. Oxford University Press. pp. 298.
  40. Deflationism, Meaning and Truth-Conditions.Claire Horisk, Dorit Bar-On & William G. Lycan - 2000 - Philosophical Studies 101 (1):1 - 28.
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  41. Truthmaking, Metaethics, and Creeping Minimalism.Jamin Asay - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (1):213-232.
    Creeping minimalism threatens to cloud the distinction between realist and anti-realist metaethical views. When anti-realist views equip themselves with minimalist theories of truth and other semantic notions, they are able to take on more and more of the doctrines of realism (such as the existence of moral truths, facts, and beliefs). But then they start to look suspiciously like realist views. I suggest that creeping minimalism is a problem only if moral realism is understood primarily as a semantic doctrine. I (...)
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  42. Dialetheists Against Pinocchio.Jc Beall - 2011 - Analysis 71 (4):689-691.
    This paper argues that, contrary to P. Eldridge-Smith, the so-called Pinocchio paradox affords no argument against ‘simply semantic dialetheism’.
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  43. Postscript to '€˜Deflationism, Meaning and Truth-Conditions'.C. Horisk, W. G. Lycan & D. Bar-On - 2005 - In J. C. Beall & B. Armour-Garb (eds.), Deflationary Truth. Open Court.
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  44. Truth, Probability, and Naive Criteria.Michael Sheard - 2002 - In Volker Halbach & Leon Horsten (eds.), Principles of Truth. Dr. Hänsel-Hohenhausen. pp. 169-182.
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  45. Deflation and Conservation.Stewart Shapiro - 2002 - In Volker Halbach & Leon Horsten (eds.), Principles of Truth. Dr. Hänsel-Hohenhausen. pp. 103-128.
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  46. Realists Without a Cause: Deflationary Theories of Truth and Ethical Realism.Sergio Tenenbaum - 1996 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):561 - 589.
    In ‘The Status of Content,’ Paul Boghossian points out an embarrassment in which A.J. Ayer finds himself in his extensive irrealism. Ayer embraces both an emotivist theory of ethics and a deflationary theory of truth. According to an emotivist theory, sentences that look like perfectly good declarative sentences, such as ‘One ought not to kill,’ should be interpreted as non-declarative sentences. According to a deflationary theory of truth, ‘truth’ is not a predicate of sentences, and sentences of the form ‘“p” (...)
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  47. Acta Philosophica Fennica.Tuomo Aho Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen (ed.) - 2006
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  48. What Does It Mean to Aim at Truth?Nicholas Unwin - 2003 - American Philosophical Quarterly 40 (2):91-104.
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  49. Russell and Wittgenstein: A Study in Civility and Arrogance.Justin Leiber - 2004 - The Bertrand Russell Society Quarterly 122.
  50. Book Review: Jody Azzouni. Tracking Reason: Proof, Consequence, and Truth. [REVIEW]Gila Sher - 2009 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 50 (1):97-117.
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